A Wood County man serving a life sentence in prison for murdering a Weston woman 31 years ago was indicted yesterday for a second murder - that of a 37-year-old Toledo woman whose body was found in Lake Township in 1976.
Larry E. Scott, 52, imprisoned in Michigan's G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility near Jackson, was indicted in Wood County Common Pleas Court yesterday for aggravated murder in the death of Mary Burns Brooks on March 14, 1976.
Scott, who in 1976 was employed at the Ohio Department of Transportation garage in Bowling Green, had been "a person of interest" since early in Mrs. Brooks' murder investigation, authorities said.
New DNA technology enabled Wood County's cold-case task force to link him to the murder, said Paul Dobson, an assistant Wood County prosecutor.
Although Mrs. Brooks was strangled 31 years ago, Scott has been behind bars almost the entire time.
He was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 in Monroe County for the death of 26-year-old Florence Hemminger, of Weston. Her body was found Aug. 7, 1976, in Bedford Township.
In 1980 in Marquette County, Michigan, Scott was sentenced on a second offense: prisoner possessing weapons.
Yesterday's indictment against Scott said he purposely caused Mrs. Brooks' death while committing or attempting to commit, or while fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, rape, arson, robbery, burglary, or escape.
Mrs. Brooks' nude body was found March 14, 1976, in the Lake Township Cemetery, southeast of Northwood, by a woman who went to the cemetery to put flowers on a grave. Her body remained unidentified for days.
A relative later told The Blade that Mrs. Brooks was last seen taking a taxi to the former Waldorf Hotel in downtown Toledo on March 13, about 12 hours before her body was found.
Mrs. Brooks had been staying at the hotel since moving from her home on Chestnut Street on March 4, the relative told reporters. She left behind a husband but no children.
"Hopefully, this will definitely be some closure and a time of relief for the family, which is what we're working for," said Mr. Dobson, who added that the prosecutor's office had been unsuccessful in attempts to contact Mrs. Brooks' family this week.
Mr. Dobson said investigators have no reason to believe Scott knew Mrs. Brooks before the night she was strangled.
The charge against Scott is a special felony that carries a potential penalty of life in prison. Mr. Dobson said the next step will be for Wood County to attempt to have Scott extradited to Ohio.
Scott's Michigan sentence was handed down after a weeklong Monroe County jury trial in 1977 for Ms. Hemminger's murder.
Her partially nude body, which had been stabbed, was found near M-151 and Crabb Road.
She had left work at a restaurant in Bowling Green at 3:30 a.m. Her car, purse, and laundry were found at a nearby coin-operated laundry and body was found at 4 p.m. in Monroe County, reports said. Her blood was found in Scott's pickup.
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